Still no trial date in Gus Boulis murder case
Dec 24, 2012 (Menafn - Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --One of the reputed mobsters accused of orchestrating the murder of Miami Subs founder Gus Boulis was jailed last week as the case lurches toward trial. Another languishes in the Broward County Main Jail, waiting for his day in court. The third is free after pleading guilty and agreeing to testify against the other two.
But nearly 12 years after Boulis was gunned down on a Fort Lauderdale street, and more than seven years after Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello, Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari and James "Pudgy" Fiorillo were arrested and charged in the crime, a firm trial date remains elusive.
For the first time, the website of the Broward Clerk of Courts is listing a date to begin the trial, but the Broward State Attorney's Office says that date, April 8, is unlikely to see the start of jury selection.
Moscatiello, 74, who was free on a 500,000 bond until last week, and Ferrari, 55, who has been in custody since 2008 when his bond was revoked, are each charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and solicitation to commit first-degree murder. They face the death penalty if convicted.
Fiorillo pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and was sentenced to six years in prison, but because more than six years had already passed since his arrest, he was immediately freed. He is now in protective custody, with other criminal charges hanging over his head should he fail to follow through on his promise to testify against his former co-defendants.
The complexity of the case has contributed to the length of time it has taken to bring it to trial, despite repeated assertions by Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes that she's eager to seat a jury.
The murder of Boulis was one of the most sensational in Broward's recent history, bringing together an eccentric cast of characters: the victim, founder of Miami Subs and former owner of the SunCruz casino gambling boats; Adam Kidan, founder of the Dial-A-Mattress franchise in the northeastern U.S.; and, indirectly, powerful Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a Republican fundraiser with access to then-President George W. Bush.
The SunCruz fleet offered "cruises to nowhere," opportunities for South Florida residents and tourists to legally gamble by traveling to international waters in the 1990s, before such gambling was allowed in Florida.
Boulis had been ordered by federal authorities to sell the SunCruz fleet because federal laws prohibited the ownership of commercial vessels by non-U.S. citizens. Boulis was Greek.
Abramoff partnered with Kidan to buy the fleet in a 147.5 million deal that was later determined to be fraudulent. Boulis repeatedly argued with Kidan about promised payments that never seemed to materialize, and Kidan later accused Boulis of threatening to kill him.
In a pre-trial hearing on April 11, Kidan admitted he hired Moscatiello, who had reputed ties to John Gotti and the Gambino crime family in New York, for protection in late 2000. But he said he never wanted Moscatiello to kill or even communicate with Boulis.
Prosecutors believe Moscatiello saw Kidan as a steady stream of income for himself and family members, and ordered the hit on Boulis to protect that income.
Boulis was shot to death on Feb. 6, 2001, as he was leaving his Fort Lauderdale office. The actual gunman was believed to be reputed mobster John Gurino, who was killed two years later in Boca Raton.
Far from protecting the stream of money from Kidan, the murder of Boulis brought increased scrutiny to the SunCruz deal, resulting in criminal charges against Kidan and against Abramoff, neither of whom were ever connected to the Boulis murder. Kidan and Abramoff later pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.
Moscatiello, Ferrari and Fiorillo were arrested in 2005.
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Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Moscatiello remained free on bond. That status changed on Dec. 17, according to court records.
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